Brexit, Germany, European parliamentary elections, the economy, Islam in France, and Corsican nationalism were among the many topics government spokesman and cabinet member Benjamin Griveaux discussed with the AAPA at a meeting on February 12.
Griveaux was spokesman for Emmanuel Macron’s election campaign and over lunch with 28 members of the Association, he recounted the foundation of Macron’s En marche! movement.
He said the president’s most salient characteristic is that “he never considers anything is acquis” – permanently acquired. “He’s not satisfied with the status quo. If you tell him that something is impossible, he says it isn’t.”
As a candidate, Macron organised a country-wide grande marche to determine what the French people wanted from the future.
“If I had to summarise it in one sentence, people told us they were prevented, by glass ceilings, by obstacles, by barriers,” Griveaux said. “We no longer had a republic of progress, of meritocracy, of fulfilment through work.”
Griveaux said that “reintroducing the notion of risk in French political life” was “the most disruptive thing President Macron accomplished.”
US President Donald Trump has invited Macron for a state visit to Washington in late April. Trump said in January he might keep the US in the Paris climate accord because of his warm relationship with Macron.
Griveaux said the two leaders will certainly discuss the climate accord and multilateralism – in particular in the Middle East – when Macron goes to Washington. “They will probably talk about the status of Jerusalem”.
Pressed on the nature of the relationship between the US and French leaders, Griveaux said: “I don’t think he’s buddies with Trump. When you’re a head of state, it’s not about feelings.”

-Lara Marlowe